6 October 2013

Les Pommes de Terre & les Pommes de l'Arbre

In the continuing effort to make good use of the bounty of feral apples, we've made an apple ketchup.  Serendipitously, we've recently found some locally grown blue-right-through potatoes.  A match of epic greatness: blue potato oven fries with spicy apple ketchup.

Blue Potato Oven Fries

4 medium-smallish blue potatoes
2-3 tsp avocado oil*
1 tsp salt

*or use another oil with a high smoke point (like safflower or peanut)

Preheat oven to 450F.

Not just blue-skinned, these lovelies have a beautiful
purple-y-blue flesh as well.
Pour boiling water into a heat proof bowl large enough, but leaving room, for the potatoes.  Wash potatoes, leaving the skin on and cut into french-fry-sized sticks.  Drop the cut potatoes into hot water and let sit until edges are just softened (but not soft).  When the oven has reached temperature, drain potatoes and pat dry with a clean tea towel.  Rinse and dry the bowl (or get out a new one, but why make more dirty dishes than necessary?).  Place the potatoes in the bowl, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and mix until fully covered.

Arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper in a single layer.  Turn oven down to 425F and bake for 22 minutes, turning after 12.  Total baking time will depend a bit on how thinly you sliced them, and the particular variety and age of potato used... so rely on your instincts as much as our guidance.  When they are done they will be cooked through and look browned and blistery.  Which is a long way of saying: when done, they will look like french fries.

Feral Apple Ketchup

Adapted from Marguerite Patten's 500 Recipes: Jams Pickles Chutneys

Use the pulp you put aside after making apple jelly:

After making apple jelly, run the contents of the cheesecloth
through a food mill to obtain apple pulp for this recipe.
for each 2 lbs apple pulp:
1 onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 c. malt vinegar
2-1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1-1/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp pickling spice
1 tsp curry powder (the commercial americanized stuff will do, but bonus points for using your own)
1/2 tsp tumeric
1-2 dried hot chili peppers, crushed between fingers to release the seeds (we used gundu chilis, but any dried red chili will probably do)
3 oz. organic cane sugar
2 pint or 4 half-pint jars, sterilized

Put onion, garlic, vinegars, salt and spices into a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook at a slow boil until onion and garlic are soft.  Stir in apple pulp and return to a boil then remove from heat.

Working in batches, run the mixture through a food mill with the smallest-holed plate (or press through a sieve).  Return to heat and boil slowly until the desired consistency is reached.  Because the pulp has already had most of its liquid drained, it may be done almost as quickly as it reaches a boil.

Pour or ladle into sterilized jars and heat process for 10 minutes at sea level.  If you've made a small batch, skip the heat processing and store in the refrigerator.



Lately we have fallen in love with the Adirondack Blue potato variety grown locally at Lester's Farm in St. John's, NL (if you're in the St. John's NL area, they also sell Adirondack Reds which also carry the colour through the flesh).  Admittedly, a good part of that love is superficial and entirely related to the beautiful purple-blue colour, but it's also a good potato: not too starchy, not mealy but not too wet.  We can attest that it's lovely boiled or roasted and it makes some of the best oven fries we've ever done.  That said, the success of the fries depends largely on using a an oil with a high smoke point: these are baked at 425F which is too high for olive or canola oil if that's what you're used to.  Splash out for avocado oil if you can (something too bitter for salad oil, by the way... which surprised us because avocados are delicious raw... but is a fantastic cooking oil).  We bought ours half-price when the nearby chain grocery was clearing it out (the bad news, we can't even buy it full priced there any more).

This whole pairing really started with the feral apples we've I've been picking compulsively.  Fefe Noir has been busy making dried apple rings and using the scraps from the apple rings and the apples too small for drying for making jelly.  Which leaves a great big mass of skins and seeds and stems and pulp.  There's a lot of goodness still in there which we didn't want to waste.  After running it through the food mill, the texture reminds me of extra-thick tamarind paste... so I told Fefe Noir she should make a samosa dipping sauce.  She looked at me.  You know that look? The one when someone's been all day in the kitchen, overheated from canning, then in all the excitement of preserves and jars and steam you innocently come up with a really good idea for more preserves and suggest it?  Oh yes, that's the look she gave me.  So I quietly milled the apples and put them in the freezer. (The remaining skins, seeds and stems fed our composter.)

The next morning, flipping through a recipe book over breakfast, I happened across instructions for apple ketchup.  Simply to prove I wasn't crazy thinking that the apple pulp would make a nice savoury sauce, I wrote a note that said "APPLE KETCHUP, p. 70!" before I left for work.  Instead of trying to convey the phone call I got later that morning, I will assume that you are smart enough to catch my error...

You will be glad to know, however, that I did step up and make some ketchup.  Yes, I got in the way in the kitchen, mucked up plans for an uneventful evening, and created general chaos.  But even Fefe will admit this ketchup was absolutely and completely worth the headache of it's manifestation.  I'm not sure it's the right thing for samosas, but apple ketchup will certainly elevate your french fries, burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Spicy Apple Ketchup on Punk Domestics


  1. Exotic looking but heartily homely and delicious. Avocado oil? YUM! I think I will have to stick with the whole avo though because the oil is a step too far for our local supermarkets here in Northern Tasmania ;). Cheers for sharing as I CAN get the spuds here and as Tassie is also called "The Apple Isle" there are no shortages of apples of all kinds here so at least I can slather the bare bones of this recipe in style :)

    1. I had no idea that Tasmania was an apple producing area... that's very interesting. Avocado oil is very expensive here, and it's definitely imported, but Newfoundland doesn't produce any cooking oil that I'm aware of (I am happy to be corrected if anyone knows differently).... and in rural parts of the island it's probably very difficult to get a hold of.... I've heard before that Newfoundland is to Canada as Tasmania is to Australia and maybe we've hit on one of those similarities. But hey, maybe when you're done with some of your other projects in you year of doing stuff, you can make an avocado press. :)

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  3. Where did you find those lovely blue potatoes? They even look good after being baked. Dominion sells the small ones in their multi pack but it ain't enough!

    1. From Lester's Farm. They call them "Blue Right Throughs"; marked "BRT" on the bag and generally at the far right on the potato table.


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